When Triggers Lose Power

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Trigger warning: Some of the triggers I describe in this article may be triggering to you.

What triggers you to feel anxious, use an unwanted behavior, have your buttons pushed, or brings back uncomfortable or traumatic memories or feelings?

In clearing trauma, we can also reduce or remove the power of events to trigger us to re-experience that trauma. That is one of the incredible benefits of Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART®).

I recently had the opportunity to go to Asheville, North Carolina to assist at a professional ART® training. Over the course of three days, I recognized several potential triggers and witnessed how my own experience with this therapy has taken away their power over me.


The training took place in an old house, including the basement. Having spent most of my life in Florida, I’ve never had a basement. Even growing up in New Jersey, while we had some kind of “boiler room,” there was no basement. Still, I understand that basements may be scary to some people.

In our initial tour of the house, the owner shared the basement’s ghost story, further adding to the mystique and potential fear factor. I decided to lead breakout sessions in the basement and face this potential trigger head on.

It didn’t come up as an issue for anyone, but my theory is that the potential trigger added another component to the successful outcomes of the ART® sessions, or at least we all had a bit of our own exposure therapy.

Reliving a traumatic event or injury

The next trigger was very real for me. On my second day in the hotel, as I stepped out of the shower, I saw a dryer sheet on the floor. I swear it just appeared there like magic because I didn’t see it going into the shower. I laughed to myself, wishing I had my phone handy to take a photo, then simply picked up the sheet and put it in the trash basket.

Why was this so significant and a potential trigger for me? It was slipping on a dryer sheet that led to my traumatic knee injury and fracturing my patella.

Yet I felt nothing, other than a little humor, which surprised me.

Dark elevator

Another trigger I experienced was on my last day at the training. As I loaded myself and my luggage into the elevator, I discovered it had a broken light sensor and was completely dark. I’ve never been nervous about riding in elevators, but riding in a dark one was a first. It was an odd feeling, for sure, but I didn’t feel any fear.

Being immersed in assisting at an ART® training weekend brought all these potential triggers to light, and gave me even more empathy for those who struggle with phobias and triggers. I’m grateful for how ART® has helped me with my fears and allows me to witness other people overcoming phobias, fears, and past traumas.